09/20/2010 | Command Sgt. Maj. William J. Payne Command Sergeant Major
108th Training Command (IET)
From the Command Sergeant Major...
Also, I would like to congratulate Brig. Gen. Robert G. Catalanotti, former Commanding General of 98th Training Division for being nominated for Maj. Gen. Additionally he has been nominated as the next Deputy Commanding General (Support) of 8th Army in Korea. I think he will need to pack some of that snivel gear he left in Saudi Arabia.
The 108th and its subordinate units including the 104th Training Division (Leader Training) continue to do great things, to make history and to make news. Staff Sgt. Melissa C. Solomon, from the US Army Reserve Drill Sergeant School was selected as the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) Army Reserve Drill Sergeant of the Year (DSOY). This is the last year of this event at historic Fort Monroe, Va. which is slated to close in 2011 due to the Defense Base Closure and Realignment (BRAC). The former Drill Sergeants of the Year did an outstanding job of keeping this year competitors on their toes. No one knows who the winner is until it is announced at the awards ceremony on the final day and this year Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling and Command Sgt. Maj. John Calpena of the Initial Military Training (IMT) Command did the honors. All of the contestants did a great job, but for the Army Reserves Staff Sgt. Solomon was selected the best of the best. And she competed with four impacted wisdom teeth that she had extracted shortly after winning the competition!
Staff Sgt. Mark Mercer, 95th Training Division (IET), won the 108th Training Command Best Warrior Competition in the NCO category and went on to represent the command in the US Army Reserve Command (USARC) Best Warrior Competition. He represented the command in an outstanding manner. Staff Sgt. Mercer finished in the top percentage of almost every category of the competition but unfortunately did not make the podium.
Spc. David Jacobi, 98th Training Division (IET), was the Training Command winner in the junior enlisted category. He was unable to complete in the USARC BWC because he was scheduled to deploy. He would have made a great competitor for the competition but because of his other commitment the 108th Training Command had no representative on the junior enlisted portion of the competition.
Command Sergeants Major, please check the status of your contestants in the future to ensure that we do not run into this conflict. It is unfortunate that we denied another Soldier the opportunity to compete because of this situation.
Many thanks go out to all of the 108th Soldiers, whose support of the USARC BWC made it happen! This includes Sgt. Maj. Larry Welch and the staff of Regional Training Center – Central at Fort McCoy, Wis. and 1st Sgt. Gregory Dirks and all of the Drill Sergeants from across the command, who helped run ranges, handled the testing of the Warrior Skills, conducted the Combatives Competition and staffed the awards dinner on Friday evening. It made me proud to see all of our Soldiers leading the way.
We continue to do great things at all of the Army’s Training Bases, Fort Jackson, S.C., Fort Knox, Ky., Fort Benning, Ga., Fort Leonard Wood Mo. and Fort Sill, Okla. The Regional Training Centers and Task Force Marshall continue to get our reserve Soldiers and Sailors ready for deployment to today’s modern battlefield. This years Reserve Officer Training Corps camp at Fort Lewis, Wash., was another success. Our Soldiers continue to support what was formerly the Multi National Security Transition Command – Iraq, the Saudi Arabia mission and the Afghanistan National Army (ANA) Mission. The Army Reserve Drill Sergeant School is having another successful year continuing to fill our formations with new, highly qualified and motivated drill sergeants.
In a new component to the ANA mission added this year, six of our female Drill Sergeants, a female 1st Sgt. and a female company commander are in Afghanistan training the very first female Soldiers in the Afghanistan National Army.
David Wood, the Chief Military Correspondent of Politics Daily wrote about this historic event in an article dated July 19, 2010 entitled: Americans: Empower Women. Taliban: Kill Women. All of you need to research that article, read it and be so very proud of what these fine Soldiers and as well as all of our Soldiers are doing.
Some of you may have heard the rumor that TRADOC and IMT are looking at combining the Army Drill Sergeant School and the Army Reserve Drill Sergeant School as part of The Army School System. It looks like this is going to happen; we are just in the process of working out the details. Fort Jackson has assigned the Reserve Drill Sergeant School one of its recently renovated rolling pin barracks in anticipation of this occurring.
The 108th Training Command (Initial Entry Training) just completed our annual Battle Focus Readiness Review (BFRR) with USARC and fortunately there is a lot more good news than there was bad this year. If our projections work out for the year we should between 80 percent and 85 percent total overall qualified Drill Sergeant strength. I want to thank all of you and your subordinate units for all the hard work you have done of the last 18 months to make this happen. With another good year and we could be at 100 percent Drill Sergeant strength, something that I have never seen in my reserve career.
But there is still much to be done, NCOERS, NCOES, APFT, Weapons Qualification, the USARC Pre Command Course for both officers and their battle buddy First Sergeants and Command Sergeants Major all continue to be hot issues though some categories were significant improvements over last year.
And a surprise to me, we have 26 new Soldiers across the command that need to be scheduled for Initial Military Training. If you have any of these Soldiers in your formations, please get them scheduled for training as soon as possible. Medical Readiness continues to be our weakest category and because of that this year the Training Command is putting special emphasis on Medical Readiness.
So thank you so very much for what you do! It is only through your selfless service and dedication and those of your Soldiers that we continue to be one of the outstanding commands in the United States Army Reserve standing ready to be a force multiplier for TRADOC and Initial Military Training Commands. I’ll see you on the trail.